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Unread 10-03-2008, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Central Kentucky
850 posts, read 1,924,840 times
Reputation: 458
Question How old is old enough to leave a child alone?

In reading the thread on Brenda Slaby and her toddler - I was wondering - at what age do you personally consider it safe to leave a child in an unattended car? Or unattended at home, for that matter.

Keep these things in mind - length of time in the store for the parent, weather conditions, location, etc.

Just curious to see what everyone thinks.

KimmieyKy

 
Unread 10-03-2008, 12:12 PM
 
698 posts, read 1,195,002 times
Reputation: 343
My daughter started staying home by herself while I ran to the store (Maybe an hour to and hour and a half) at 12. She was also 12 when she decided she would stay in the car by herself while I ran into the store for a few things (Maybe a half hour).

BUT, we live in a rural/small town area in a state that is one of the safest in the country.
 
Unread 10-03-2008, 12:15 PM
 
Location: North Jersey
9,990 posts, read 13,495,841 times
Reputation: 5270
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimmieyky View Post
In reading the thread on Brenda Slaby and her toddler - I was wondering - at what age do you personally consider it safe to leave a child in an unattended car? Or unattended at home, for that matter.

Keep these things in mind - length of time in the store for the parent, weather conditions, location, etc.

Just curious to see what everyone thinks.

KimmieyKy
I would never leave a child under 10 alone in the car.
Over 10, if it's just for a minute to run into store for milk, I would, but lock the car..by store I mean like a 7-11 not a major supermarket...a few minutes in a major store can fast turn into a half hour or longer..it's just not worth the risk imo

Unattended at home..under 10 never after that it all depends on maturity level, how long they would be alone. Some kids can stay home all day if school is closed and be fine others,no, but the maturity level comes into play here
 
Unread 10-03-2008, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Derby, KS
3,832 posts, read 7,170,461 times
Reputation: 1523
CAR:
If someone is unable to exit the car by their own means when in a dangerous situation they shouldn't be left in a car. And therefore if you have reservations about how said child would be able to handle himself on the street alone...outside the car...they shouldn't be left alone.

HOUSE:
Our oldest is 10yrs. We live in a small town in a nice neighborhood so we don't feel there is an imminent danger of strangers or sex offenders. But at the same time she is incapable of cooking for her self or doing her own laundry right now. She's pretty level headed and does things the way we ask most of the time. She's good for 1-2 hrs by herself at home. But that's as far as we let that cord stretch. She also has to have a phone on her hip at all times. She enjoys the new freedom but at the same time she knows we'll come through the door at any second and she should keep things on the up & up so she won't get into trouble. It's different for all kids I think. You-the parent-have to make that call for yourself.
 
Unread 10-03-2008, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Mebane
2,358 posts, read 3,500,483 times
Reputation: 1853
I would also agree with the 10-12 year old range, depending on the kid.
 
Unread 10-03-2008, 12:52 PM
 
4,892 posts, read 10,925,876 times
Reputation: 3589
i think it's ok to leave a 12 yr old at home alone, and maybe watching younger siblings--probably not babies.
in the car---it's just a different scenerio. in a house, you have the option of hiding, not opening a door. there is a phone to call in case of emergency etc.
in a car its not as "safe". yes, there are cell phones, but my guess is it's not as easy taking out your cell and calling 911, when someone is trying to break in to the car and possibly car jack you, steal the car, or try to kidnap someone--of any age.
i feel like telling people who say "i live in a small town, and we are safe", to STOP thinking this way!
i live in a small town now, and i have never been more afraid. i used to live in a big city up north and NEVER felt afraid--more people around = safety in my eyes.
 
Unread 10-03-2008, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
748 posts, read 1,292,438 times
Reputation: 399
Maturity level and location play a big role in this.

I also live in a very rural area. Last night, my 10 year old daughter told me that many of her classmates already do babysitting for their younger siblings. I think that is too young to babysit, but not too young to be left alone for 1-2 hours. We just started allowing our 12 year old to babysit her siblings who are 10 and 7. We don't go further than 10 minutes away and we always carry at least one cell phone with us. Anytime you are just starting to allow a child to be home alone or babysit, I would suggest starting with smaller amounts of time and build up gradually based on how well they are able to handle it.

As for the car, that also depends on age, where you live, and also the temperatures outside. Once again, living in a rural area or small town is very different than a city. When my oldest was just a baby I would often have to stop and get gas while out with her. In the winter it was VERY cold out and I didn't want to bring her out into frigid weather any more than necessary. I would make a point of stopping at the local gas station before heading into the larger town for running errands. I'd leave her in the car very briefly while I dashed in and plopped my payment on the counter. If she was sleeping when we got home from grocery shopping, I would often let her remain sleeping there until I got done unloading all the groceries. If I was living in a city at that time, I would have had to find other solutions. As I was often alone with her and being in a rural area, this is what made the most sense for the situation. Nowadays, being able to pay at the pump makes the whole gas station problem much easier. I would NEVER have left a young child alone while shopping or forget that they were there. Now that my kids are older, I do give them a choice if I am stopping in somewhere for just a few minutes. Well, take that back. Not the 7 year old, I still take him in with me, unless the 12 year old is in there with him and the temperatures are tolerable.
 
Unread 10-03-2008, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
748 posts, read 1,292,438 times
Reputation: 399
Quote:
Originally Posted by findinghope View Post
i think it's ok to leave a 12 yr old at home alone, and maybe watching younger siblings--probably not babies.
in the car---it's just a different scenerio. in a house, you have the option of hiding, not opening a door. there is a phone to call in case of emergency etc.
in a car its not as "safe". yes, there are cell phones, but my guess is it's not as easy taking out your cell and calling 911, when someone is trying to break in to the car and possibly car jack you, steal the car, or try to kidnap someone--of any age.i feel like telling people who say "i live in a small town, and we are safe", to STOP thinking this way!
i live in a small town now, and i have never been more afraid. i used to live in a big city up north and NEVER felt afraid--more people around = safety in my eyes.
I disagree. There are areas of the country where carjacking is never even heard of. Regardless of who is in the car. Car break ins are also quite rare in my area. A 10-12 year old is perfectly safe in a car where I live. My kids know how to keep the doors locked too. Often times they would rather stay in the vehicle than get out just to wait in a line for 10-15 minutes.
 
Unread 10-03-2008, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Maine
650 posts, read 1,300,145 times
Reputation: 542
I agree with the 10-12 year old range. The Red Cross offers a baby-sitting class for kids 12 and over. If you can baby-sit at 12, I think you could probably stay home alone a little before that.
 
Unread 10-03-2008, 01:02 PM
 
5,343 posts, read 8,366,764 times
Reputation: 1111
43 and I'm firm on my answer. My mother should not even be leaving me alone (39) yet!

Honnestly, it depends on the child. I don't think you should ever leave a young child (under 10) unattended anywhere.

I also think babysitters should always be over 18 yrs of age, but that's jmo.
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